- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Elon Musk Hints at User Fees for X Social Network to Combat Bots and Fake Accounts
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has suggested the possibility of introducing a user fee for access to X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, as part of his efforts to combat the presence of bots and fake accounts on the platform. Musk made this statement during an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported by the BBC. While it’s unclear if this remark was a passing comment or a signal of an actual plan in development, it has raised eyebrows and prompted discussions about the potential impact of such a move.
Musk stated, “We are transitioning to a model where users pay a modest monthly fee to utilize the platform.” Since taking control of Twitter last year, Musk has been encouraging users to subscribe to the expanded service, now referred to as X Premium. Subscribers enjoy additional features, including the ability to create longer posts and increased visibility on the platform, while basic features remain free for all users.
The motivation behind implementing user fees is likely financial, as Musk also cited the presence of bots as a reason for charging for the service. Currently, in the United States, X Premium costs $8 per month, with pricing variations based on the subscriber’s country of residence.
In response to potential concerns about affordability, Musk mentioned plans to work on offering more accessible pricing options, stating, “We’re working on a lower price point. We want it to be a nominal amount. It’s a topic for further discussion, but in my view, it’s the most effective way to combat large-scale bot armies.”
Critics have voiced worries that introducing a paid gateway could lead to a significant loss of users for X, potentially impacting the company’s advertising revenue, which currently forms a substantial part of its income.
Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest individual according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index, currently boasts a fortune valued at $243 billion (approximately CZK 5.6 trillion). Despite his advocacy for unrestricted freedom of speech, his approach has faced criticism, with research indicating an increase in hate comments on X since his takeover. Additionally, certain governments have criticized the platform for what they perceive as inadequate content regulation. The discussion around user fees on X is likely to continue as the platform grapples with issues of content moderation and financial sustainability.
Article by Prague Forum